Arizona sends Upton to Braves in 7-player deal
PHOENIX – Arizona has traded outfielder Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves in a seven-player deal that sends former All-Star infielder Martin Prado to the Diamondbacks.
The Braves also get third baseman Chris Johnson. Atlanta is giving up four minor leaguers in the deal, including top pitching prospect Randy Delgado. The other minor leaguers headed to Arizona are right-hander Zeke Spruill, shortstop Nick Ahmed and first baseman Brandon Drury. Prado, projected to play third base for the Diamondbacks, can become a free agent after this season.
Upton, who has five-plus major league seasons but still is just 25 years old, will join older brother B.J. Upton, who recently signed a free agent contract with Atlanta. The younger Upton, who has three years and $38.5 million left on his contract, had been the subject of trade speculation throughout the offseason and vetoed a trade to the Seattle Mariners.
Prado, who joins fellow Venezuelan Miguel Montero in Arizona, made the All-Star team in 2010 as a second baseman and played mostly in left field last season. A versatile infielder, Prado was projected to move to third base for the Braves this season to replace the retired Chipper Jones.
Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said via Twitter that the team wants to sign Prado to a long-term deal.
Free-agent outfielder Nyjer Morgan has signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Central League.
The team says the 32-year-old Morgan will join the BayStars on a one-year-deal worth $1.6 million.
Morgan has a .280 batting average, 130 RBIs and 117 stolen bases over six seasons in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. He hit .304 while helping Milwaukee win the National League Central in 2011, but slumped to .239 last season as the Brewers failed to make the playoffs.
The BayStars are expected to use Morgan as the No. 3 hitter in a batting order that also includes former major leaguers Alex Ramirez and Tony Blanco.
Pedro Martinez has returned to the Boston Red Sox.
On Thursday, Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, who spent seven seasons in Boston, was brought back to the franchise. He will serve as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.
Martinez became a Red Sox starting pitcher in 1998 and was a key cog in the 2004 team that brought a World Series title to Boston for the first time since 1918.
With the Red Sox, he went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. He has the best winning percentage in franchise history, and ranks third in strikeouts (1,683) and sixth in wins (117).